"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Should I Move to LA?

I know, I know, you're like, "What? Aren't you already in LA? Yeah, I am. I went to the beach today! Sure, I was wearing a sweatshirt AND a jacket, but still. I was at the beach!

Hi Lira
My name is Jessica, I'm 22, and I'm from a little big town in Kentucky. I'm interested in pursuing acting, however I feel like I'm not going to get anywhere. I have no experience other than a couple of features (which you have said doesn't count) and I live no where near a big city to do any acting! 
I have recently considered saving up money and moving to LA. I'm not sure how well that will work though because I'm doing good to live paycheck to paycheck, and my boyfriend isn't too fond of the idea either. He and I have been together for over 2 years, so it's not like I can just choose one or the other. He is more interested in living in the countryside instead of the busy city. He's also not too keen on me being an actress anyway because he is afraid he will never see me and I will be traveling a whole bunch. I love him but I'm afraid if I just give up on this dream, I'll end up at some desk job I hate just making money to get by. 
I have always felt like I was made for greater things. This is obviously no exception. I want this to the point it's all I can think about lately.

Is there any way I could try to get some roles closer that could get me my big break? Should I think about moving to LA? Should I just give up this too-big dream? I have always dreamed so big, and I know one downside of that is disappointment when they don't come true. I feel really lost when it comes to all of this. I think part of what's standing in my way is fear. I'm afraid to step out of my comfort zone and take off work for a few days and travel somewhere like Chicago or Atlanta to work. I feel in that way I will be losing money, considering the transportation and stay. I really just need a little point in the right direction, some answers to ease my mind. I'm sorry if I've rambled. I just really had a lot on my mind recently and I needed to get it all out.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and (hopefully!) respond to me.

Hi Jessica! Thanks for reading this here blog. Although I've answered several of these questions already, I like your letter because it touches upon a few things I would like to address. 
A LOT of communities do theatre. A TON of them. If not your city, then the neighboring town. Trust me on this. Google that shizz. AND THAT GOES FOR EVERYONE OUT THERE! I didn't get my first gig in LA - oh heck no. I did my first play in my hometown when I was 12 and did the drama club in junior high, and was in all my high school shows. If I had stayed in my hometown, I would still be acting! There's the local community college that puts on shows, there's regional theatre - you'd be surprised. There are always opportunities if you look for them. And if you swear there's not, You Make Them. 

I'm going to assume that your boyfriend has your best interests at heart even though he sounds selfish because he thinks he'll miss you from all the traveling you might be doing. There's facetime and skype. He could deal. And if he can't, and you know you'd be happier in place that doesn't serve his needs, maybe you both need to have a serious sit down and talk about your life goals. Because if they don't match up, better to know that now. Or maybe he doesn't know how serious you are about this. A sit down is a very good idea.

And then there's this: "I have always felt like I was made for greater things."
 Ugh, Jessica. Me effing too. And unfortunately, everyone feels that way.
I majored in pretend, and god bless all my school mates, but gosh darn it I knew, I knew, that this whole acting thing would work out for me. It was in the cards. It was in the stars! I was freaking named after a constellation!! Come on! I just knew it was going to work out for me and I would be working, rich, and super duper happy.

Am I? No. And I am going to say not yet, but I am fully aware that I could never make a career out of this. Auditions are slow and few and far between. I got sent out for things that were such a mismatch I wasn't surprised one iota when I got an email from my theatrical agency saying they were folding. 

What was I saying? Oh yeah. We ALL feel like we were made for greater things. It's something of our generation. But I'll get to this again later. You'll like it.

You say you're in Kentucky and want to know if there are roles out there for you. Have you heard of Louisville? HUGE regional theatre. 

I think you're so scared and filled with fear because you know you don't have the necessary training and resume to make it in LA. That is A-OK because you have everything you need Right In Your Own State. Stay close to your friends and family. Go to Louisville and ask if you can get a tour of the company because you're interested in auditioning for them. Auditions aren't for a few months? Ask how you can get a job or intern there. Get to know everyone there so they know you're serious. Network. Pick everyone's brain. Learn, learn, learn.

Is Louisville also still out of your comfort zone? Well, you can stay where you are and if there are no opportunities there, why don't you create your own theatre company yourself? Maybe you and a few friends put up an original show (I did that just last year!), or maybe you wrangle a whole bunch of kids and do a show! The possibilities are freaking endless.

You say you feel like you're meant for great things. And I do believe you are. I don't, however, believe that you were meant to do them in LA. 

So! Go forth! Explore what your community has to offer, check out other parts of the state, and if none of that satisfies you, create opportunities for yourself where you are satisfied.

In the meantime, check out some dance classes. That will make you feel creative and you get to act - set to music.

Good luck, Jessica, and if you don't have that, make it good yourself!




  1. What a lot of people don't realize about the acting profession is that the people that do make it are often related to someone in the industry.

    Not all of them but a lot of them are.

    They wouldn't have made it either if not for their families.

    Do regional theatre and build up your resume and see where that takes you.

    1. ^ THIS.

      Many loyal readers of the blog will have seen that I make that point a lot - that a lot of famous people in their 20s and 30s grew up in the business, working at 6 months old, the child of a second 2nd, or a working commercial actress, or an agent....

      Building up regional credits show that you're serious about your profession.

  2. I wanted to write novels or be a television writer because I just love to tell stories but I've never pursued it.

    I never pursued it because I knew I wouldn't make it.

    I had some of my teachers telling me that I did have some talent but I've never felt confident about trying.

    1. You can always pursue it now! Write a few spec scripts. If you love telling stories, tell stories!!

      The hardest thing in life is having regrets.

  3. Don't you regret pursuing acting as a profession?

    I felt if I did pursue it that it wouldn't be worth it in the long run.

    Just like so many people find out.

    1. Hey Anon,

      It sounds like you're having a rough day. Maybe a rough week? We all get these roller coaster waves of emotions, and sometimes the troughs can be extremely sad. You sound like you're in a very sad place.

      If you're a creative person, I always suggest having some kind of outlet so that you can be creative in your own way, on your own, without having to rely on someone else telling you what to do.

      Go for a walk. Listen to some music. Appreciate all that's in front of you. Because the sky really is that blue, and you really are breathing. We need to be reminded of that every once in a while.

      I hope you feel better soon.

  4. The really awful thing about acting is that it's not a flexible profession.

    If you want to be a musician or professional painter you can hold down a full time job and do that on the side.

    If you could do that with acting it wouldn't be so bad but you can't really.

    When you have kids it's even tougher.

    I would advise people to have another skill or have a degree in something else to fall back on.

    I hope my comments help Kentucky Jessica.

    1. I know your comments are coming from a place of love, and hopefully they will help those who need it.

  5. I've heard some regional theatres pay and some don't.

    It would be nice to get paid fifty dollars per play that you are cast in.

    That way you would get a little something for your work and be able to say that you are a working actor.

    1. There are a lot of regional theatres that pay Equity wages. :)

  6. I don't really know why so many people think they are meant for greater things.

    How many people in the world do you know that have been president, invented a cure for cancer, or walked on the moon.

    Most people go to school, get a nine to five job, get married and have families.

    Of a country of about 320 million people only about 3 million are wealthy.


Play nice.